Intermitting fasting has exploded into popularity in recent years because of its immense health benefits. Hundreds of research study with animals and human trials have shown that intermittent fasting can help with a ton of conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurological disorders.
Mark Pattison, Ph.D., a leading neuroscientist at John Hopkins and has a longstanding history of intermittent fasting research, is also a self-practitioner of its methods. Pattinson said in The New England Journal of Medicine that intermittent fasting could spell wonders for a healthy lifestyle. He claims that research has found that reducing “eating windows” can play a pivotal role in lowering your risk of chronic disease and increasing longevity.
However, people often have no idea how to approach intermittent fasting properly. They make a lot of inappropriate mistakes, which leads them astray from their goals. Here are some pointers listed below that you can consider before incorporating intermittent fasting in your daily regimen to ensure you don’t experience some setbacks:
#1 Recklessly Jumping into It
Some people jump headlong into intermittent fasting; they skip lunch and breakfast on their first day, and by 4 p.m., they’re sulking in intolerable hunger. This will happen if you usually have three meals every day, and you suddenly shift to a 16-hour fasting routine. Libby Mills, a famous dietician at Villanova University, believes this is the best way to discourage yourself from intermittent fasting.
You don’t have to fast all week, and religiously stick to a 16:8 diet since there are ways to tackle this problem. For example, you can experiment with different forms of intermittent fasting. You will be able to get the same results by switching to a 5:2 eating regimen for five days and significantly reducing caloric intake over the weekends.
A study involving 107 overweight women found that women who limited their caloric intake twice a week experienced the same weight loss success as those who practiced intermittent fasting throughout the week.
#2 Consuming Too Many Calories
People usually throw themselves at an entire platter; this is the reason why fast breaks, and it causes overeating, which is a massive problem in intermittent fasting. They think they’re making up for lost calories, or can eat more as long as they’re fasting. This kind of justification and habits leads to obsessive-compulsive disorders and other worrisome complications.
Libby Mills recommends devising a strategy to keep your eating habits in check. You should instantly stop eating when you’re full, even if your plate still has food. You can save it for another time if you’re not alright with having leftovers.
Mills also suggests taking short breaks while eating, so your brain has some time to tell you that you’re starting to get full. “Sometimes, this takes 15-20 minutes after you start eating,” Mills adds.
#3 Jeopardizing your Diet with Soda
Sodas contain bubbles that fizz, and it can give you a false sense of being full, filling up with sodas will make you hungry before your next meal and will cause you to overeat. According to Mills, artificially sweetened drinks can also increase your tolerance to sweet and sugary things. You may notice that when you try to enjoy a piece of fruit, it isn’t as delicious and satisfying like before you get used to drinking sodas.
#4 Not Keeping Track of your Water Intake
In intermittent fasting, the recommended amount of water intake is 2 liters or 1/2 gallon per day. Meeting this milestone has paramount importance because water is an essential component of many metabolic processes in our body. The physiological processes in our body need a sufficient amount of water to carry out their activities.
When you’re taking snack breaks, you can try to eat foods that are high in water content like non-starchy veggies. These hydrating foods will help you meet your daily water goals. As a general tip, keep your fridge stocked with juicy oranges, sweet watermelons, sliced cucumbers, and other water-rich foods.
#5 Eating the Wrong Foods
You also have to get an adequate amount of lean protein from your diet. Meat, poultry, legumes, chicken, fish are all rife with protein content, and leave you with a lasting feeling of being full. Plus, if your protein intake in on point, it will help you maintain a lean body mass. Make sure to research everything you need to know about protein before hopping on the intermittent fasting train.
Fiber from fruits, whole grains, and vegetables are great resources to slow down digestion and utilization of carbs and keep yourself energized for long periods. By doing this, you will be able to address the calorie deficit if it happens.
#6 Extreme Approach
Sure, intermittent fasting is a research-backed trend, and you’re likely to get many benefits from its exercise, but you shouldn’t starve yourself to death while doing it. Depending on your body chemistry and genetics, taking less than 800 calories will cause not only adverse weight loss but also bone health deficiencies.
This is going to spell disaster for your mental and physical health and discourage you from sticking to intermittent fasting in the long run. Listen to your body, and adhere to gradual and manageable progress instead of taking a shortcut to reap the benefits that intermittent fasting is known for.
#7 Making Things Hard by Cutting Out Caffeine Altogether
A major misconception is that Caffeine is a big NO in intermittent fasting. These claims couldn’t be farther from the truth. Mills believes that a caffeinated beverage in between meals is an excellent transition from one meal to another.
However, make sure you’re not stuffing your morning Joe or espresso with lots of sugar or milk, so you don’t go overboard with your carb intake. Also, take note that some beverages have a considerable amount of Caffeine, which has harmful effects. It may upset your stomach, or it may increase your cravings for sweets, and it may also mask your hunger and delay eating when you feel hungry.
#8 Engaging in Intense, Hardcore Workouts
You don’t have to go all ends out in the gym when you’re intermittent fasting. It’s a bad combination. But, if you’re hell-bent on a hardcore workout, and can’t do without it, what you can do is schedule your meals close to it. Lifting heavy weights on an empty stomach or way before your next meal might affect your muscle recovery and how you replenish your energy, which are vital for long-term results in the gym.
As a rule of thumb, if you’re hitting the gym at 5 a.m, make sure you break your fast at 8 a.m. A three-hour gap between your workout and your next meal is what your body can handle without breaking down.
You need to take a lot of things into consideration before deciding to do intermittent fasting. You can start from your choice of foods to your mindset and workout schedule; there’s a lot that goes into making intermittent fasting a success and not a colossal failure. These will guide you in making sure you’re making the right decisions.